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"5 ways the North Korea situation could spiral out of control" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP11 Apr 2017 10:47 p.m. PST

"The New York Times reported on Sunday that the US is redirecting several warships toward the Korean Peninsula as a show of force. The decision is a response to North Korea's test of yet another intermediate-range missile.

For decades, presidential administrations have tried and failed to curb North Korea's nuclear weapons program. The Trump administration's approach so far has been both aggressive and confusing.

A week ago, for example, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson released a statement that read: "The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment." Does that mean negotiations are over? It's not clear.

Although Tillerson insists that America's policy remains a denuclearized North Korea, not regime change, dispatching a naval armada to the region suggests we're inching closer and closer to a potential clash.

Yesterday, moreover, we learned that China was sending 150,000 troops to the North Korean border to prepare for the potential flood of refugees in case the United States launches a preemptive strike. Such a strike remains highly unlikely, but China's actions are indicative of how dangerous the situation has become.

To understand how close we are to full-scale conflict in North Korea, I reached out to Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Lewis focuses on nuclear nonproliferation, international security, and disarmament, and he is the author of Minimum Means of Reprisal: China's Search for Security in the Nuclear Age…"
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Ssendam12 Apr 2017 12:59 a.m. PST

Only 5???

Supercilius Maximus Supporting Member of TMP12 Apr 2017 2:12 a.m. PST

Damn – beat me to it.

Bangorstu Inactive Member12 Apr 2017 4:17 a.m. PST

There is, alas, no way this ends well.

The only way for it to do so would be for a relatively sane North Korean govenrment to speed up development of the nation with Chinese help.

But they don't have that kind of government.

panzerCDR12 Apr 2017 4:50 a.m. PST

There are probably 5x5x5x5x5 ways this could get out of control.

Various senior leaders can anticipate perhaps 5 of these.

Good luck!

zoneofcontrol12 Apr 2017 5:21 a.m. PST

"Scenario 5: The North Korean regime collapses internally, creating a failed state."

Scenario 5a. North Korean regime remains in power, continuing a failed state.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP12 Apr 2017 10:38 a.m. PST



Skinflint Games12 Apr 2017 2:02 p.m. PST

My personal hunch? Scenario 6 – Chinese get sick of having unpredictable lunatic divorced from reality but operating nuclear weapons on their border, launch massive land invasion and install semi-sane puppet government. Nuke program is folded into China's and lots of no-first-use treaties are signed

gamershs12 Apr 2017 3:02 p.m. PST

Lets see: lunatic North Korean leader + nuclear armed missiles + sitting on boarder with China + 150K Chinese troops on boarder = ? (one less crazy North Korean leader and North Korea under management of friendly South Korea?)

Could it be that Chinese will FIX the problem in North Korea. Add to calculation that South Korea can manufacture drilling platforms that China may soon be needing.

JMcCarroll Inactive Member12 Apr 2017 4:00 p.m. PST

Kim Jung Un "what does this do?"

Lion in the Stars12 Apr 2017 6:10 p.m. PST

@gamershs: The problem is that China doesn't want a US ally (or the ally of any other rival/competitor) on their border, so they're not really in favor of a unified Korea.

The Koreans don't want to be a Chinese (or Japanese) client state ever again, so they're looking for a "big brother" to keep the Chinese (and Japanese) from invading.

So, while I do agree with you that 150k Chinese troops could certainly do some heavy lifting in terms of punting the Kim Dynasty out of power, I don't see it happening now.

I think what we need to do is get the US, China, South Korea, and a couple other nations like India, Australia, and maybe the UK to all sit down and discuss how we'd like to settle the Kim Issue.

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member12 Apr 2017 9:57 p.m. PST

I wonder if a background effort is already underway, possibly several competing operations in fact, by opposing players, seeking a covert solution to the problem. Assembling a conspiracy of No. Korean military and/or governmental pragmatists who would be in favor of deposing the ruling family and perhaps even dismantling the nuclear program in exchange for Chinese guarantees of protection and independence could be a win-win for all parties -- certainly less destructive than a war, and kicking the question of Korean reunification down the road to a more settled time, maybe.

You'd think Chinese, Russian, So Korean, and American intelligence agencies, at least, would all be active in this sphere -- altho' I doubt the Americans have the guile, contacts, or historical trustworthiness, in NK eyes, to bring it off.

Supercilius Maximus Supporting Member of TMP13 Apr 2017 1:26 a.m. PST

I think what we need to do is get the US, China, South Korea, and a couple other nations like India, Australia, and maybe the UK to all sit down and discuss how we'd like to settle the Kim Issue.

I think "a bullet to the head" would be the commonly agreed "best outcome"; it's who's going to deliver it and who will be in charge afterwards that will create the ructions.

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